Orson Welles reprised his role of Harry Lime from the celebrated 1949 film adaptation of Graham Greene's novel The Third Man. The radio series is a "prequel" to the film, and depicts the many misadventures of con-artist Lime in a somewhat lighter tone than the character's villainy in the film.
These files have been updated with a higher quality set. August 2011
April 11, 2019 Subject:
Well worth it
Highly entertaining, this series takes the tone of "The Third Man" film's famous cuckoo clock speech and expands it into several prequels to that film. The settings are exotic Hollywood fantasy ports-of-call such as Algiers and Budapest. The narrator and voice of Harry Lime is, of course, Orson Welles, the finest radio actor ever and capable of making entertainment out of reading a deli menu. As these radio plays are well written and performed, the only downside might be the overuse of Anton Karas' renowned zither music from the film.
The earlier episodes take themselves far too seriously, but by the time an episode like "The Dead Candidate" rolls around, "The Lives of Harry Lime" is flat-out comedy. As noted elsewhere, the same source material was used here for an episode ("Horse Play") as the 1973 film "The Sting."
There are loads of wacky accents, cartoon villains, mysterious Arabs and femme fatales. Those looking for political correctness regarding ethnic and gender stereotypes should look elsewhere, although the later episodes are performed so tongue-in-cheek it's hard to take offense. By the end of the run the tone gets close to Firesign Theater "Nick Danger" territory.
Considering their age, sound quality of the transfers is good. As the cast members other than Welles are not named, it is fun to pick out the voices of old pros like Sebastian Cabot. All told, this series is well worth listening to.
WOW .... !
Harry Lime ....
Every man want to be him ....
Every woman wants to kiss him ....
Every cop wants to catch him.
Sounds like an earlier version of
"catch me if you can"
Now as I spend my life traveling the world I have added 4 new places to visit based on Harry's wanderlust adventures. I just wish I could meet the femme fatale that Harry lime has left broken heart in his wake. Chasing the cash .... finding romance .... but never forgetting the con.
Now I understand why Orson Wells had such a superstar status in Hollywood.
January 10, 2016 Subject:
I listened to Radio shows from childhood at night in bed with the glow of the tiny radio light on the channel tuner. Then later when I was in Viet-Nam on AFRS, When I was discharged I started to collect Tapes of OTR shows. I soon found out I had a serious Tinnitus problem. This caused trouble trying to get to sleep. I found that the playing of the shows through a small pillow speaker distracted me so as to blot out the constant squeal of the Tinnitus. Then I discovered that listening to the Radio Shows while driving on long trips seemed to speed up the time taken on the ride.
When you concentrate on the shows the time flies by.I am talking about trips that take hours (8 - 16 hours) I am now 70 years old and still enjoy them. TV stinks it dulls your imagination, OTR allows you mind to relax and mentally visualize what you are hearing. Thank God for OTR and saving the Radio Shows. Chickenman PFD E-31
August 9, 2015 Subject:
Have A Conversation with Harry Lime!!
Just read these lines along with Orson's intro, starting immediately after the opening gunshot:
(His lines fit between yours, where the asterisks (*) are.
And he wouldn't mind overlapping dialogue.)
(BANG!!) What was THAT...?! * Where did he die? * Oh, yeah, I saw the movie. So they killed him, huh...? * What d'you mean by that? * Oh, yeah? How do YOU know? * Well, tell me! * A g-g-g-g-ghost!!
Been doing it for years. 'Coz I'm crazy... about this show!!
And that zither thither..!!
Anyway, my favorite eps include "Operation: Music Box", "Voodoo", "Horse Play", "It's a Knockout" & "Violets, Sweet Violets".
Mention some of yours.
March 29, 2015 Subject:
Poster 'thda' below is correct. I can't listen long-term to the hissing, oscillating fan sound pattern present in most of these.
Edit: Yes, I realize I sound like an ingrate. SO a point upgrade. THANK YOU for sharing these. That means a great deal to a site such as this, simply bringing it to the rest of us. Again, Thanks.
March 28, 2015 Subject:
These are fine
Just fine. Nice to have these old radio shows for our enjoyment 24/7. The sound issue I hear others speak of could it be the sound of the phonograph? thats what it sounds like to me. Either way thank you for the hard work in making these available.
February 4, 2015 Subject:
Recently I found OTR in the public domain and am just in love with it. I want to thank you for sharing this series. I agree with an earlier post which states that the only problem is there are too few episodes of this particular series and find myself rather jealous of the amount of OTR shows others have amassed. Thank you again, for sharing this wonderful show.
January 10, 2015 Subject:
A good show about a bad person
I must have taken some nerve to center a series around an unlikeable person. Harry Lime is greedy, mercenary, treacherous and just plain rude.
And, it should be mentioned -- very sexist. It's hard to call him misogynistic since he absolutely loves women but he treats them horribly! (And the show itself seems sexist, not just his character.)
The other flaw is the misportrayal of foreign cultures, accents, believes etc. This is a major flaw for a show that is supposed to be international. For me, anyway, this was more laughable than offensive.
But, the stories are interesting and it takes place at a time in European history that really sparks the imagination. And, thanks much to Orson Wells' extraordinary talent, you start to like the Harry Lime character despite his flaws.
November 6, 2014 Subject:
Orson was just made for radio. Sometimes I think that he was his own worse enemy when he went to Hollywood because of his ego, but in radio he reigns supreme. and I agree that the new upload is much better than what I downloaded several years ago
January 11, 2014 Subject:
new upload is a HUGE improvement! Thanks very much!
This current set of Harry Limes files sounds wonderful. (Previous versions were file-compressed to the point of incomprehensibility when played in the car, and they gave one a warbly headache in headphones): What an improvement now!
The writing is top-notch in this series, full of surprises, and there are occasional double double crosses that leave the hero 'losing a round'.
December 28, 2013 Subject:
Like most complete or near-complete collections, some episodes have better sound quality than others. The condition of the transcription disc or reel-to-reel tape used for that particular episode is the reason for the lack of consistency.
If someone is really upset with the sound quality, they can clean it up themselves with a program like Audacity and post that improved sound file to the archive. I'm sure such efforts would be appreciated, if not financially rewarded.
As far as this series goes, it's top-notch all the way, with great and fluid performances by Welles and supporting cast.
June 17, 2013 Subject:
Harry Lime - Worth your time! Forget the Whine!!
The Lives of Harry Lime is one of my favorite OTR shows. Good to above average writing for the 27-28 minutes that had to fill. Just as an FYI...this site is a .ORG. Huh? Well, that means they can't afford all those fancy machines (and time/money) to remove those tiny fragments of annoying hiss and gurgle that some find so bothersome. Let me tell you, the quality on most of the recordings is very acceptabe and rather good! Please remember much of the recordings on this site are from reels or record and from a very long time ago. If the occasional hiss bothers you, check your meds, try a bit of yoga or practice the great lost art of concentration. It's amazing the things you hear when you learn to focus on the things that matter. Just try to cope with the wiggles and crackels as you listen. I know, I know...CD and DVDs don't do that kind of stuff. Of course I can only bet that most of the complaints are coming from those who did not grow up listening to tapes, 8-track and records. Shame. The sound quality was so much better than the little plastic disks they use now.
August 25, 2011 Subject:
Harry Lime -- great but a little sour
This is a great series! Thank you. But the sound quality/distortion, as noted by others, is a real drawback. It might also need volume balancing between the orchestral [vs. zither] intro/segue music and Welles' low-level intros.
I found a few of these episodes, three at 64kbs and some 32 & 24, on a different IA page, "Harry Lime with Orson Welles." At least the 64kbs ones seem much better.
August 19, 2011 Subject:
Among Welles' best
Harry Lime is definitely among Welles best radio work. These are fun tales of a likeable rogue and Welles, ever the entertainer, makes them incredibly enjoyable. Welles not only had one of the great voices, he knew how to use it and exploits it to the max in the tone of these adventures. Good literate fun.
July 5, 2009 Subject:
That was the shot that killed Harry Lime
This remains not only one of my favorite otr series but also a favorite appearance by Mr. Wells in any capacity. As noted, a few episodes in this set do have a slightly "warbly" sound but they are still very much listenable, the slight warble barely distracts from the superb voice acting and great story lines. A great series.
June 24, 2009 Subject:
The third lime
Fun stuff, the sound quality is poor in SOME episodes, but overall great shows that were cleverly written and Orson Welles was a fantastic radio actor. Good fun, enjoy!
June 16, 2009 Subject:
Suck on a Lime !
A great listen!
Welles roguishly twinkles throughout.
Poor sound, though the stories are so entertaining you forget about this one negative.
May 12, 2009 Subject:
Wow! I've been listening to OTR for many years but for some reason never stumbled across Harry Lime before. Quick moving, highly original, clever little twists. Just plain fun to listen to. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys letting their imagination run!!
Great job and Thank You!!!
April 28, 2009 Subject:
I Also enjoy the free versions too
I would like to comment on the guy that gave it 2 stars, there is NOTHING in life that is free yet here is this website that offers a massive database of free OTR. I personally enjoy the fact that they are free and think it is important that it is, otherwise the shows would dissapear to all but the wealth (those who can aford to pay for these shows. Before i stumbled on this site I was fully prepared to pay the $30-$60 per season. Instead I looked around for a little bit and in five minutes I found this site and have recently purchased a 1TB hard drive and am creating a massive archive of all the OTR on the site so far I have about 210 shows but each show has 3-4 seasons in it so I have 1000+ seasons of just about every type of Radio show you could want. I love the fact that I got it for free. It amazes me that all this stuff is free because most of them arent in the store. it further amazes me that someone would write a 2 star review for something that is of no expense to them their completely and totally free! I give everything on this site 5 stars for that fact.
April 15, 2008 Subject:
Considering that the episodes are more than half a century old
Whether the quality is as good as anyone would want, poor quality is better than no episodes. However, anyone is more than welcome to go to any of the pay-for-OTR websites and purchase "cleaner versions. Otherwise, it might be nice to thank those that posted OTR programs than to complain that the "free" versions aren't as high quality as the "paid" versions.
I think the sound quality here is very disappointing. It sounds as if someone has tried to clear up the hiss with a "Gaussian filter" and rather overdone it; the result is a blurred, "wavy", very unpleasant sound. Note: this is not a review of the content of the show which I'm sure is great (Welles usually is); I simply gave up listening to it because of the poor sound.
October 24, 2007 Subject:
The Lives of Harry Lime
The Third Man (The Lives of Harry Lime) was a old-time radio adventure series that ran in 1951 and 1952. It was based on the 1949 film of the same name.
Orson Welles stars as Harry Lime, a perpetually broke confidence man, smuggler, and general scoundrel. He will participate in virtually any criminal activity to make a fast buck, but uses his wits rather than a gun. He draws the line short of murder, blackmail, or drugs.
Even so, Harry is an endearing character and listeners love to hear of his one-step-ahead-of-the-law misadventures as he hops around the globe looking for his next pigeon.
The zither music of Anton Karas adds a wonderful Viennese ambience.
Each episode would begin with "The Third Man Theme" being played, abruptly cut off by an echoing gunshot. Then Welles would speak: "That was the shot that killed Harry Lime. He died in a sewer beneath Vienna, as those of you know who saw the movie 'The Third Man'. Yes, that was the end of Harry Lime... but it was not the beginning. Harry Lime had many lives... and I can recount all of them. How do I know? Very simple. Because my name is Harry Lime."
Although often cited as a BBC production, the series was one of a number produced and distributed independently by the prolific Harry Alan Towers. Only ten of the episodes were acquired and broadcast by the BBC in the UK. It was the first time that the BBC broadcast episodes of a dramatic series that it did not produce. The full series was syndicated to radio stations in the U.S.